Michael Thomas was holding out of training camp while waiting to reach a new deal with the New Orleans Saints. He was previously playing on his rookie contract, which paid him around $1 million each year. On July 31, Ian Rapoport broke the news that every Saints fan was waiting on.
The #Saints & star WR Michael Thomas have reached a blockbuster, 5 yr $100M extension. This contract makes Thomas the highest paid WR in NFL History. He’s also the first non-QB offensive player to sign a $100M contract. Agents @DavidMulugheta & Andrew Kessler negotiated the deal.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 31, 2019
As Rapoport reported, the deal is a five-year extension worth $100 million, including $61 million guaranteed and an average yearly salary of $20 million. This deal makes Thomas the first non-quarterback offensive player to sign a $100 million contract. Thomas is very deserving of being the top paid wide receiver in the game, showcasing some of the best explosiveness and efficiency that the NFL has ever seen.
He has the most catches of any player in his first three seasons in NFL history with 321 passes hauled in. He has been a huge part of the Saints’ high-flying offense since he was drafted in the second round (47th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. Thomas has been the best receiver from that draft by far. He was the sixth receiver selected, behind Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Josh Doctson, Laquon Treadwell, and Sterling Shepard. Thomas’s catch numbers have improved in each of his three seasons in the league, peaking at 125 catches last season. Thomas has a three-year catch rate of 77 percent, which is the highest in NFL history among receivers with at least 200 catches. In 2018, his catch rate was 85 percent, which is the highest rate in a single season in NFL history for a receiver with at least 40 targets.
It will be interesting to see how his contract plays out, as Drew Brees might be playing his final season in 2019. Regardless, the Saints had to pay Thomas, due to his dominating presence and lack of a top option behind him. He has now returned to training camp and looks to get ready to continue his record pace next season.